AN EAST Hampshire farmer who has raised nearly £5,000 for an airborne charity might turn his back on Facebook after being repeatedly targeted by scammers.

Mark Rowden has spread joy to hundreds of people around the district over the last two Decembers with his RMW Charity Christmas Tractor Run.

But his annual drive for the Hampshire & IoW Air Ambulance has attracted the attention of scammers – with at least two fake links being set up in the event’s name on Facebook. They looked genuine to the unsuspecting with the culprits using Mark’s name and images.

The farmer, who is based near Petersfield, highlighted the fake links to his 1,500 followers on his official RMW Charity Tractor Runs page.

However, it’s likely that some people may have been duped before the pages were flagged with scammers getting funds that were intended to help save lives.

“It seems to be a theme on Facebook,” said Mark, whose latest run through Liss, Greatham, Bordon, Passfield, Liphook, Milland, Rake, Petersfield and the Rother Valley has raised £4,800 and counting for the HIOWAA.

“A lot of charity events are being targeted by scammers setting up Facebook pages and pretending to be the organisers to scam people into donating.

“It’s unfortunate that Facebook isn’t forthcoming in taking these posts down when they’re reported.”

He added: “I’m not sure how we’re going to advertise it next year if it carries on because it’s becoming a real problem.”

A similar scam was highlighted in Bordon in mid-December with adverts appearing on Facebook for an Annual Christmas Fayre at the Hogmoor Inclosure.

The scammers were appealing for stallholders and food traders with places available for £30 apiece with at least two falling for the ruse highlighted by the Deadwater Valley Trust.